UC Riverside Academic Senate

The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship

2012-13 The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship Award: Ben Stoltzfus

Ben Stoltzfus

Ben Stoltzfus
Professor Emeritus
Comparative Literature and Languages

Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature & Foreign Languages, will be completing a book, “Rene Magritte: Elective Affinities and Literary Titles.” This book promises to add new and important information to the interarts convergences that are currently attracting substantial attention in his field. Briefly described, it concerns the analysis of works of literature and paintings with the same title. Often a world-renowned artist would give his paintings the titles of the works he was reading. Thus, in the case of Rene Magritte, there are paintings named for prominent books by R. L. Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, et al. “Ekphrasis” is the term used by art critics and literary critics whenever they examine the interarts connections between the visual and the verbal. More recently the definition has been expanded to include any rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form. But what can be said when a renowned artist borrows the title of a book, but his picture appears not to illustrate that literary work? Professor Stoltzfus identifies Magritte as practicing “reverse ekphrasis” because his picture both comments on and subverts its literary antecedent. Thus, for example, in the case of Dashiell Hammett’s novel, The Glass Key, the painting depicts a rock balancing precariously on a mountain ridge, but no key. Stoltzfus’s analysis follows from the fact that Magritte was a reader of philosophers as well as poets and novelists. His book, influenced by Roland Bartges’s seminal essay, Rhetoric of the Image, promises to be the first to explore the meaning in language based on the denotation and connotation of objects. Professor Stoltzfus has been a widely respected member of the UCR faculty since 1960 and has continued his active scholarship and publication since becoming an emeritus member in 1993.

2012-13 The Edward A. Dickson Emeritus/a Professorship Award: George Slusser

George Slusser
Professor Emeritus
Comparative Literature and Languages

Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature & Foreign Languages, will be extending his important research on science fiction by completing a new book, tentatively titled “The Other Shore: The Science Fiction of Continental Rationalism.” Science fiction writing has paralleled historically the European scientific revolution as a world literary form. While the majority of science fiction has promulgated the idea that it is an Anglo-Saxon form of literature, the “other shore” referred to in Professor Slusser’s new book will focus on a much broader but neglected literature that developed from 17th century thinkers and writers such as Descartes and Pascal, who acted as mediators between scientific thought and literature and the arts. His proposed book will focus on the important line of Cartesian science fiction which emerged from France to Continental Europe, a line of literature which is no less important than the Anglophone science fiction better known in English speaking countries, including the United States. His approach to the history of the relation of science and literature will be comparative in nature and include thinkers and writers whose primary language was not English. Since completing his undergraduate degree at Berkeley in English and Philosophy and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard, George Slusser has become one of America’s most knowledgeable scholars of science fiction. In addition to his own prominent writings in the field, Professor Slusser became known prominently at UCR as Curator of the library’s Eaton Collection of science fiction. Professor Slusser was named an emeritus faculty professor in 2004.

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